The Russian government made clear it regarded Georgia as the instigator of recent events that resulted in their armed forces moving into South Ossetia and then invading Georgia. Foreign Minister Segei Lavrov noted his nation does not wish to “slam the door” on NATO but the West must make a decision–is it support for Georgia or is there a genuine desire to deal with Russian concerns? “Everything depends on NATO’s priorities,” said Lavrov. “If the priority is blind support for the bankrupt Saakashvili regime and if they are ready to pay the price of a break in relations with Russia, then that is not our choice. We are not planning to slam the door on NATO.”
NATO is insisting Russia honor its agreement and withdraw its forces from Georgia and the organization has suspended a cooperation council with Russia until it changes behavior in Georgia. In response, Russia said it was pulling out of a joint naval exercise with NATO.
If nations could step back for a moment and examine the overall consequences of Georgia’s decision to use military force in South Ossetia, it would become clear Georgia is not an innocent victim, but a nation led by individuals who deliberately provoked an angry reaction from Russia and now wish to involve NATO in dealing with problems it created. There are no vital issues at stake other than making certain Georgia ceases provoking any further crises.